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LONDON — Central Saint Martins showcased its best design talents from the class of 2020 MA Fashion course on Friday with a 5G theme flashy high-tech projection sponsored by Three. Yet somehow, the microphone didn’t work during the winner announcement.

Women’s wear designer Sarah McCormack from Dumfries, Scotland and American Chinese designer Leeann Huang stood out from the 21 designers who made it to the graduate show and took home the grand prize L’Oréal Professional Creative Award.

Fabio Piras, course director of Central Saint Martins MA Fashion, said Huang was awarded for the research she went through while McCormack was “a fantastic choice,” as she manages to create couture-level beauty with rejects, all done by hand.

Huang’s graduate collection is a colorful nostalgic trip back to her childhood. “The future seems very bleak to me. Through my research, I was looking at different things that used to make me happy as a child. Mostly through cartoons like ‘The Powerpuff Girls,’ or ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ which painted a very positive feminist future,” she said, adding that she would like to get a job in Europe, and not return to the U.S. and President Trump.

McCormack’s collection is rich in textiles. “I started with a base and built on top of it. Just apply multiple layers and give a multidimensional sculptural surface. I really enjoy working with my hands, and not working with the machine,” she explained. McCormack would like to work on her own projects after graduation.

Andrew Davis, creative consultant of the Face and the judge for this year’s top prize, said McCormack’s collection is “a modern manipulation of fabrics,” and her hand-intensive processes and techniques she developed are original. “The contrast between the hard and the soft, the beautiful and the decay was so fantastic,” he added.

For Huang, Davis liked her use of color and the fact that she recycles and transforms. “She made friends with architecture students to develop vacuum molding with, and the use of recycling products. The fabrication and the rubber she developed are unbelievable,” he said.

Other memorable looks from the show included Samson Leung’s voluminous creations, Sun Mu Lee’s sartorial infused streetwear and Paolo Carzana’s all-white ensemble that closed the show.

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